Monday, April 20, 2009

A bit about research

I love when an idea for a new novel pops into one's head. That happened me a few weeks ago when I was thinking I'd start to write a different sort of book. It came fast and furious and unexpected. My initial thought was to kill it as I knew it would involve too much time doing research. As a lawyer, I've done my fair share of that--both at law school for exams, essays and with a girl called Patsy Monahan who was my 'moot' partner in a maritime problem we were given to defend and when I worked as an associate for a mean son-of-a-bitch boss who still gives me the chills when I think about him and who had me research for appellate cases he handled--and I dislike the amount of time it takes. When I do research, I tend to become fully absorbed in the process because I can't stand doing a half-assed job like lazy lawyers and some novelists whom I've read of late.

But the idea of the novel was strong and kept rising Phoenix-like from the ashes of rejection. So I have surrendered and am now immersed in the world of Mormonism. Yes, Mormonism. My as yet unborn and unnamed protagonist is a Mormon. I am Irish with no Mormon relatives. Nor have I as yet been baptized by them 'in absentia' so that I will get to the Celestial Kingdom. (I believe that happens upon one's death so my father may have been by now or is in line to be baptized by them at one of their temples.) I have only met a couple of Mormon missionaries from Utah who knocked on the door of the flat I shared with a very well-bred, very pukka dyke who was tres untidy, read two novels at a time and became my teacher of all things hedonistic--we drove to dance clubs in her shiny TR7, her 'babe magnet,' a vehicle so intensely magnetic she had to merely drive around the block where the Gateway club was situated rather than pay the entrance charge on those evenings she felt like going (alone) into Central London to drink at the only lesbian bar in town. Both she and I were in our very early twenties and our primary interests were our invincible youth, looking hot and acting cool, alcohol, disco and did I mention our invincible youth. We did not care to learn about Joseph Smith finding golden tablets deep within some NY hillside or Brigham Young or the Book of Mormon. Now I wish I'd listened to them instead of wondering what to wear that night to Heaven, the one at Charing Cross.

But I digress. I am finding my research fascinating and enjoyable. Writing is about the journey and I love to meet new people and learn new things about the ever-changing mosaic we call humanity.


Anonymous said...

Good luck with your novel. Make it accurate so that a Mormon would recognize it. Don't just make it a fictional character that you call Mormon and a real Mormon laughs because there is nothing in the character they recognize. Go to the source for your research.

Helps: (stories of early Mormons who immigrated from Europe to walk across American by handcart. Their stoires might give you some ideas. I know there is an Irishman in there!)

If you do a book like a son called Gabriel, you might want to read "In Quiet Desperation" by Ty Mansfield


Good luck with your book! Twilight is pretty popular right now written by an LDS/Mormon author about a character that does not act on his Vampire urges (some equate this to the homosexuality topic - some to any chastity topic - or any other topic with strong urges - you don't have to act on those urges) A main character that is active in his faith with internal struggles such that he pays a deep personal price to come to know the God of his faith would be an intersting read. But you're the author. Good luck.

Damian McNicholl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Damian McNicholl said...

To Anonymous (I have a real problem in general with people posting anonymously as it smacks of cowardice), I should have said thank you for your comments and the tips provided, which I shall certainly look at.